Long Island Dad Admits to Conspiracy in Faked Drowning off Jones Beach

An unemployed man suspected of faking his own drowning at a New York beach to collect on life insurance has pleaded guilty to conspiracy.

The Nassau County district attorney says Raymond Roth of Massapequa admitted guilt in exchange for a 90-day jail sentence.

Roth will also have to pay about $37,000 to county police and the Coast Guard for their rescue efforts after he was reported missing.

Just before he entered his plea, when asked by reporters if he wanted to apologize, Roth responded, "To who?"

Last July, Roth's son told authorities that his father went for a swim at Long Island's Jones Beach and never came back. After the fruitless search, Roth turned up in Florida and South Carolina.

Prosecutors said father and son had conspired to collect on about $400,000 in life insurance.

Roth's lawyer, Brian Davis, said Thursday, "Part of the way he was viewing the world at the time was to make that escape that everybody envisions for themselves every once in awhile."

Davis insisted his client wasn't thinking straight when he tried to escape a failing career and a troubled marriage. Before his arrest, Roth spent two weeks undergoing psychiatric treatment for bipolar disorder and attempted suicide, according to Davis.

"You know, I'm not asking everyone to cry for him but there is some sympathy there," he said. "He was not thinking rationally at the time." 

Davis said his client pleaded guilty to ensure his son won't go to jail. The case against 22-year-old Jonathan Roth of Massapequa is pending.

"He does want to reunite with him," said Davis. "One of the things he asked when taking the plea was that he wanted to make sure Jonathan wasn't going to jail." 

-- Greg Cergol contributed to this story.


Copyright AP - Associated Press
Contact Us